Hi and welcome to my Blog, my name is Paul Riddle and I live in south Leicestershire, UK. Back in August 2007 my quest began to locate as many local Little Owl territories as possible. The driving force was a reported decline in the uk numbers so I thought I would do my bit and conduct a study in my area. After 7 years and countless hours out in the field I have detected over 200 different sites. With a thirst for a greater understanding of the owls a more comprehensive monitoring and nest box programme then commenced. This also now includes monitoring the local and very sparse population of Barn Owls, please pop back occasionally and catch up with the life and times of my owls and any other wildlife that I come across. I hope you enjoy your visit!!!

Friday, 29 March 2013

What a "good friday".

Absolutely glorious............. I can't think of a better words to describe what it was like being out in the heart of the countryside at 5.30am this morning. To watch the dawn of a new day and the world slowly coming to life as the sun rose above the horizon was brilliant. It was so tranquil and so eerily still, gone were the horrid high winds that have been bothering us of late. There was not another sole about and the only sound was that of the dawn chorus, and I managed to soak in the atmosphere and really appreciate it all with a hangover!!! I know the bank holiday weekend is all about taking it easy and chilling out away from the pressures of life/work, but give an early start a go, you won't regret it................I can't recommended it highly enough!!
Anyway, my early objective was to go and find some hunting Barn Owls. I was hoping that a few of the leads I have during the week would throw up some new sites? Sadly that wasn't the case with only one very brief sighting being made and that was at an existing site. But it didn't matter, just being out was reward enough on its own.
This is the Barn Owl sighting I made, below. Not the best of images as it was still pretty dark and taken though the side window of the car. I can only assume that is was sitting in this crevice taking a breather before it flew off into the distance, no doubt it was off to retire to its bed?
Barn Owl - Undisclosed site.
For the rest of the morning I flittered about between potential Barn Owl sites, along the way a few Little Owls and a solitary Buzzard were encountered.  I spotted the Buzzard sitting on top of a hedgerow up in front of me. I got the camera ready and drove deathly slow, I'd remembered to open the passenger window this time (unlike when I encountered the earlier Barn Owl!). And just as I predicted, I got level with it and off it flew!! How many times has that happened to me??
The next bird I encountered, a Little Owl at my site No 107 also flew off just before I could "lock" onto it, slightly blurred again!!!
Little Owl - Site No 107.
At my Little Owl site No 62 a single owl was located, thankfully this bird didn't fly off as soon as I pulled up. In fact I sat with it for at least half an hour, it didn't budge from it's original position all the time I was there.
Little Owl - Site No 62.
The final site of the day was at my Little Owl site No 4. The male owl was out on my arrival, he gave some great views as he hopped around on top of the green fence posts.
Little Owl (male) - Site No 4.
This bird didn't do too much and all the images were pretty similar really, a green post with an owl on the top! Then I heard the call of another owl, it must have been the hen bird? I had to reverse the car a few yards as it was awkward viewing but I eventually located her, she was sat at what I can only assume is the nest entrance? She posed nicely for about one second before she disappeared into the hole. I have been to this site dozens of times before and I'd always wondered where the nest was? And all this time it was virtually right under my nose, what a wally! 
Little Owl (hen) - Site No 4.
So all in all as the title of this post suggests, it WAS a good Friday. I wonder what tomorrow will bring as I am planning yet another very early start, Superb Saturday maybe??


  1. A brilliant morning for you there Paul. For me, the Barnie is still the star!

    Good luck for Saturday!

  2. Great images mate, I have to agree an early start with a sun that's warming is better then a strong black coffee. The buzzard made me laugh, did Ben the Plumber tell you about the one he took from the sun-roof of my car whilst doing 40mph I was supposed to go slower but it was my chance to get Ben back, he did get the image though:(

    1. Oh yes Doug, getting out early is the best cure for a hangover that I have come across. No the story about Ben is a new one to me?

  3. Glad you had a good day mate,great images once again